Among the many high value marine tropical finfish that could be farmed in India, the silver pompano, Trachinotus blochii is one of the topmost, mainly due to its fast growth rate and high market demand. It is well understood that for commercialisation of aquaculture of any species, the vital requirement is the availability of technology for seed production and farming. Eventhough the seed production technology and the potential of farming of Florida pompano (T.carolinus) has been well established in the late 1990s, India is a late beginner in the aquaculture research of pompano. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has initiated aquaculture research on pompano from 2008 and the first successful broodstock development, induced breeding and larval production is now successfully accomplished. It can be considered as a milestone towards the development of pompano aquaculture in the country.
Silver pompano is caught only sporadically in the commercial fishery and hence its natural availability in the sea is rather scarce. It is a much sought after species and hence the demand can be met only through aquaculture. The farming of pompano can be successfully carried out in ponds, tanks and floating sea cages. The species is able to acclimatise and grow well even at a lower salinity of about 10ppt and hence it is suited for farming in the vast low saline and brackish waters of our country besides its potential for sea cage farming.
It is evident that any aquaculture venture can be populariued only if proper technology is available and the practise is of high commercial value. If the technology for pompano is standardised, the second aspect is already met as per the international market details available for Florida pompano. The dockside price for Florida pompano averaged to $ 8 per kg from 1994 to 2006. In the Indian domestic market the current price of pompano is about Rs.200/-per kg.
The present success in the pompano breeding is a major step in the development of seed production technology. However, standardization of commercial level seed production technology is the next urgent step. Hence investment on infrastructure for broodstock development and state of the art hatchery should be given topmost priority. It is felt that pompano is a potential mariculture giant which has vast domestic and global business prospects.
(Source: Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi)